Have you ever sent a meal back to the kitchen in a restaurant?

    While on vacation my husband and I enjoyed one of the best meals for lunch that we have ever eaten and the most disgusting dinner ever put on a plate in both of our entire lives... all in one day.

    My husband was convinced his salmon was from the freezer even though we were dining on the ocean and my potatoes where powdered (which I have never experienced before).  I am also certain that the seasonal vegetables were also from a bag that lived in the freeze for far toooooo long.

    The great restaurant is called the Schooner in Tofino.  Amazing food, wonderful service and an exceptional chef in the kitchen.

    The hideous restaurant is the Canadian Princess in Ucluelet.  Cool boat thing happening but the service was astoundingly hopeless.  They obviously didn't hire a chef and the manager was pathetic. 

    The meals went back for the first time in my life.

    +12  Views: 1240 Answers: 17 Posted: 12 years ago

    17 Answers

    There's no shame in complain-- assuming you have a ligit complaint. If the restaurant send a bad meal, refuse it, however- don't wait until 2/3 rds of it is consumed, do it right away!  Also, don't judge a restaurant because of one bad meal, there's no such thing as a perfect restaurant, they make mistakes too and sometimes you are the recipient of the mistake. tell them!! let them know politely you are dis-satisfied and give them a chance to make it right. worst of all is going out and flinging their name all over the place when it could have been a simple mistake that they would have been very happy to correct for you.

    Yes, I have complained of a bad meal and yes they made it right for me in most cases, however, I have also run into a manager that would argue with me-- This insults my intelligence I left and never went back. I don't complain much but i am not afraid to speak up when i know i have reason, I think you will find that 'most' restaurant managers will comply with your concern.

    I was raised in the restaurant business, about 35 years of my life invested in food service so I think I have a pretty good handle on restaurant operation and politics.  I would also suggest that when you have an outstanding meal, let them know! Ask for the manager, tey aren't used to this, who knows, it might just get you a gift certificate for your next meal. :)

    There are FOUR things that you as a customer expierence when going to a restaurant

    1. How clean is the restaurant

    2. how much will it cost you to dine there

    3. how good/bad is the service

    4. how good is the food, quality of taste.

    Unfortunateley, #4 the food itself what you actually came for is the last thing that you expierence, it is a shame that if # 1-#2 or #3 is bad it makes no difference how good the food is, you won't go back.  When I was an owner, I emphizised this to my servers that they can make our restaurant or break it.  Sad but true.. this is why restaurant business is such a difficult carreer. too many people have your career in their hands.


    This is excellent Vinny. The manager would not approach us and we were very polite about it. We barely ate anything making our evaluation within three bites. I have emailed the company which is The Canadian Princess Resort.
    The service, food and the lack of care was so astonishing that it has left a very bad impression... so much so we don't even want to return to Ucluelet it's self.
    In all the restaurants around the world including the food poisoning adventures this was by far the very worst meal either one of us have ever tasted.

    You are in your rights. I don't know if this restaurant is a franchise but I have seen this on occassion where the restaurant chain is so large that the employees don't really care, its just a job to them and you are only a bag of money. Managers in many chains are awarded for higher profits with an 'override' - they will cut quality, service and hygiene to make their books look better, eventually they lose because people won't return. There's nobody there that really cares. This is why I pretty much stay away from large chain restaurants-- I find that most all of these are built on expensive surroundings and showboat entries with fancy names. If I go to a restaurant that has laminated menus with beautiful pictures I know I'm pretty much in for a mediocre at best meal. I choose the small mom n pop restaurants where the first thing they serve you is-- 'LOVE' they are so happy to see you, they will put all they have in the 4 items above, not much to look at but clean, no fancy wall paintings, waterfalls and glistening lights on marble Roman columns. Just great service, clean, fair pricing and good food, and as a plus, the owner will come to your table and give you a few laughs and walk you to the door when its time to leave.. This is what I look for..

    We have a Greek restaurant and a Japanese restaurant just as you described in our city. These are are faves.
    Thanks Vinny.

    You're welcome!! :)

    The quality of the food has always been my main considation. Whether the restaurant is dirty, the meal expensive and/or the service is lousy doesn't matter much to me.

    Well then Lightning, you are in the minority. I would vouch for 99.9% of the people will not return to a dirty nasty restaurant that has bad service and is totally overpriced but has good food. Aren't you a bit concerned of what you are eating since the place is so nasty dirty? and to make you pay top dollar as well?? :) Any of these 4 things will keep me from coming back- I have more dignity for myself to eat in a crap-pool, or be treated like a third-world refugee or be charged an outrageous amount for the decor. I go for the food, not the carpets. But the carpets better be clean and the service good.

    I do know of many 'ethnic' restaurants in the San Francisco area where I live that are totally dirty but busy all the time with their own 'people' this is fine, they are used to this I am not.. :)

    I did it often when I could afford to go out for meals, my belief is "if it's not as good as they say it is, it goes back to the chef" I've never had a problem with refunds or stroppy owners or chefs, Brits are not renowned for complaining but I like to get what I'm paying for!


    This was the first time... They took the meals off the bill and our drinks as well. We left and drove back to where we were staying. I made gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that tasted far better than they should of because we were soooo hungry!

    grilled cheese sounds good. havent had it in ages.

    Only once that I recall.  I had ordered a steak, medium well.  The vegetables and the mashed potatoes were soaking up the blood....yuk!!!  Just looking at it, made my stomach turn.  They replaced the whole meal and the chef came out from the kitchen and apologized!  The second meal was delicious and I still go there.


    This restaurant couldn't have possibly had a chef employed... What a nightmare. This is the resort... looks wonderful but isn't. False advertising.

    On the other hand a while ago one of my former ESL teachers became our friend... She embarrassed us every time we would go out together she woud send at least onof her meals for some corrections...

    The dish delivered to us with the pubic hair on top was sent back to the kitchen with a request to please have employees wash their hands when their done using the bathroom.


    Oh my goodness!

    country bumpkin

    It was yurk!

    It's been a long time but yes I have it makes me nervous as to what they do with the food..


    We sent the meals back and didn't order any thing else... paid for my son's dinner and left. My husband wouldn't let him eat it... The drive back to our retreat was interesting to say the least and my son does not like gummy fruits!

    I did! only once 3 times I sent the food back! Same meal! Finally took the meat home. The cat would not even eat it! Never went back there and never recommended the place either!

    Yes, because they were cold, because they were overcooked, and once because they left the head on a fish (fancy french restaurant- someone ordered for me) That time the waiter treated me with discust when I asked..I simply said that I could not eat with it's poor desperate dead eyes staring at me...finally he took it, probably spit onit and removed the eyes- I only ytook two bites (it was ok but the entire experience killed my appetite.   I have also gotten things taken off the bill, a few meals and a coke that had a chunk of glass in it (glad I used the straw!


    How crazy are these things? Dining is supposed to be a wonderful experience... oh my goodness! I have watched far too many cooking programs!
    My husband thinks he has become a food critic!

    It's not unusual for a restaurant to serve the whole fish, head and all, especially for a small variety but I agree with you. If I know that in advance, I ask for the head to be removed before serving. (eeewwwwwww)

    They acted like I was insail to requst the head and tail removed.

    A long while ago. We went to a fish fry and the fish we were served was fried with a piece of cardboard underneath the fish. We did not return the whole meal, but asked for a different piece of fish. We had eaten many times there before and the food had always been good. When it came to pay the bill, the owner apologized and told us the meal was on the house. We felt bad, because it was a simple mistake. I am sorry you had a bad experienceUsually restaurants have to be very competitive in order to survive. I also agree with Vinny on everthing. Ma and Pop Restaurants are still the best. We were lucky to have found one where we live now. No one can beat theire food and service.


    This place couldn't even serve the water for the tea hot... After reading all of these stories I may never go out for dinner again!

    You can ask other people about a good place to eat. This is how we found the place we go occatianally to. Once you find one you always go back. It is too bad you had that experience. Smaller, family run places are always a sure bet.

    Dinner was ordered, the salad arrived at the table, my lettuce started to move, and a roach appeared. I called the waiter showed him the salad moving. Suddenly the food appeared. I refused the food and refused to pay for it. He threatened to call the police, I threated to scream at the top of my lungs about the moving salad. I did not pay for that dinner.


    I am sorry that this made me laugh... with an "Oh my goodness!" attached.
    ed shank

    I now stare at my salad for a while before I FORK IT.

    Once only and too long ago to remember why and where. My wife and I  don't go out often because we cook at home and we have complete control of what goes into our meals which are quite simple yet very tasty. Whenever we go we know the food  is very good and we are rarely disapointed. 

     My daughter and I visited Tofino and I believe we had dinner at Shooner (probably) and we loved it. During same visit we went to another place very nicely located with very disapointing food.


    You had our trip!

    I like my meat well done and have often sent it back to be cooked more. This is after I asked the wait-person to tell the chef to burn it. I mean it.....


    That's funny!

    YES, told them it tasted like SH*T, then the waitress had the nerve to ask, "What's wrong with it", I kindly told her, "I just told you, IT TASTE LIKE SH*T".  That's when, I learnt to eat pizza, only after a dare/offer.

    I have done it soooo many times that now my Husband dosnt take me out for meals anymore  as I am sooo fussy and anyway I think and know I can cook better than any food you get in a resturant  and I am not saying that there are fab resturants out there but not in Lancashire the food is gross and I am not saying that I am a fanstic cook either but I have worked as a waitress when younger and some nice resturants in London you dont want to know behind the kitchen doors  


    I don't think I can talk my husband into eating out for a very long time. Food is a passion of his. He was really upset.

    Fishlet I don't blame him xxx

    Umbriel just ordered the book of the internet sounds very good! will report back once read! I cant make head or tail wether you want me to explain in great dept of th whats goes on behind the kithen doors!!! or are you saying you know what happens behind the kitchen doors! thanks x

    I never returned any meal back but there is one time I got a milkshake and there was a fly in it.So I returned it back to them and they gave me another one and I did not drink the milkshake because I don't know which Bug might get in to the milkshake. AGAIN !

    OH WAIT I GOT ANOTHER ONE. If your Drinking something do not read this comment.

    There was one time I was in a country ( I don't remember it's name ) I was in a park where there was a lot of bugs. It was so hot, I bought a cold water and in two minutes it became hot. It was so hot I almost fell down. Then I saw a boy holding a milkshake from BR ( Baskin Robbins ). So I knew I was near to BR so I went there and bought a milkshake. I drank I little bit of it then suddenly I need to go to the toilet so I asked my brother to keep the milkshake with him. When I came back I saw my Brother gone and the milkshake is still on the table so when I look in it I saw a bee, Wasp, and lots lots of flies. I was going to return it but I my brother told me that this is a park and there are a lot bugs.

    And that's way I don't go to the park so often


    I may never eat out again!

    A bad meal really makes an impact on an otherwise wonderful experience.  I have returned things on more than one occasion, the most recently being in Carmel, California, which is a very high-falootin' coastal town in California.  
    My friend and I ordered salad and soup (clam chowder....bowl for her, cup for me).  My salad was excellent, as was hers.  She got her soup first (smaller salad) and suffered her way through it.  
    Mine came.  The "bowl" was square, about 2 1/2" high, and the soup filled less than half the "bowl".  I tasted it and put the spoon down. It was horrible (the potatoes had been put through a food little bits of tapioca).  I finally got the server and simply said I couldn't eat the soup.  She offered to bring something else, but I declined and the soup was removed from my bill (of course). 
    By the way, the service was seriously lacking and it should have been "top drawer".  The gratuity was very small.  The server's JOB is to provide my food at the right temperature and without undo delay. A "tip" is appreciation for a job WELL done, not just done. 


    Oh Bob/PKB, I hate at Clint Eastwoods restaurant in Carmel. (The Hog's Breath Inn) That place was filthy!! It was on a Sunday in the summer so that kind of explains it.
    I didn't complain. I didn't ask for a return of money. After trauma, I just can't act right.
    This happened 20 years ago so I suppose things are better there. He might not even own it.
    I believe Mrs. Eastwood is on TV tonight. She is his wife and used to deliver the TV news to us when we lived in Salinas. Her show is about her family's privilege life in Carmel. CA.

    I made a typo in my commet. In the first sentence I wrote "I hate at Clint Eastwoods Restaurant ... " I meant to say, "I ATE at Clint Eastwoods ....
    That's a real Freudian slip. Eh?

    This is exactly why dining experiences should always be pleasant and delicious... now I will never go to Clint Eastwood's restaurant. Word of mouth should be taken seriously.

    We had hamburgers at a tiny restaurant by the Eel River on the North Coast of California. There were no other diners. There were no other places to get a meal. My hamburger was bad. Old meat. I told the waitress as nicely as possibly. (I was aware of how remote this restaurant was) She turned dark and mean and I don't remember whether we got our money refunded. I took one small bite.

    We left and walked toward our car. Right as we were about to get in a group of dogs came barking and snapping after us. My husband says they were Rotweilers. We didn't have a cell phone. Those dogs would have killed us if we hadn't fled.He said there were two. I think there were many more.      

    Terrifying. Maybe the scariest moment of my life. 


    My husband had a bowl of soup. I think it was Campbell's and it was ok.

    The Eel River is probably the most remote of the 6 Rivers National Forest rivers. I believe she sicced those dogs on you and your husband. You get remote enough up north and you get "Deliverance".

    That would be terrifying.

    No, I never have, although I probably should have. There are several restuarants in town that I will not go to because of their past service. I am also not bashful of saying why I won't either.

    One place served me this plate with gravy that actually had congealed grease on top of it. Then, one other time I decided to give the place a second chance. The dinnerware I was given the second time I visited the place, had old food stuck between the tines of the fork. (That was disgusting!) Then, while waiting for the food to come, I looked up and there was a bunch of cobwebs hanging from a light coming down from the ceiling almost above us.

    I'm not fussy, but I'm not into paying good money for eating out of what comes across like I'm eating cold food, on dirty silverware, in a barn. If I wanted to eat in those conditions, I sure as hell wouldn't be paying to do it.

    The other place had some disgusting health department write-ups that were published in the paper...and I just don't go there.

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